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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jacobs Professor Alexander Kerr appointed concertmaster of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Feb. 3, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music announced today that the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has appointed Alexander Kerr as concertmaster, effective Sep. 1, 2011. While taking on these duties, Kerr will maintain his post as a full-time professor of music in the Jacobs School.

Alexander Kerr

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The appointment was announced with the news that violinist Nathan Olson, currently concertmaster of the Canton Symphony, will serve as co-concertmaster. This is the first time in Dallas Symphony Orchestra history that the orchestra has had both a concertmaster and co-concertmaster. The concertmaster chair has been vacant since former Emanuel Borok retired in August 2010.

"I am thrilled by my appointment with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and am equally thrilled to remain with the Jacobs School of Music," Kerr said. "The chance to continue my musical association with my wonderful colleague Jaap van Zweden and his extraordinary organization in Dallas is a thrilling opportunity."

"That my two great professional loves -- teaching and performing -- will be able to co-exist at two of the greatest institutions in America is a dream come true. I would personally like to thank Dean Gwyn Richards, Maestro Jaap van Zweden and Dallas Symphony Orchestra President Paul Stewart for helping to make this collaboration possible."

While taking on his new duties, Kerr will continue as principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a position to which he was appointed in 2007. From 1996 until 2006, Kerr was concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, coincidentally following Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jaap van Zweden in that post. Kerr has also served as concertmaster of the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra and Chamber Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2011-2012 concert season, Kerr will perform 12 weeks with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, coinciding with the weeks van Zweden is on the podium, in addition to performances at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the orchestra's summer residency.

"We had outstanding prospects for our concertmaster position, and Alex stood out," said Paul Stewart, interim President of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "His experience and leadership will also be very helpful as we add new musicians and pursue the other initiatives of our Great Orchestra Project. Adding a co-concertmaster will give great strength and flexibility to an already outstanding violin section."

Olson, 24, is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster and Jacobs School of Music alumnus William Preucil. Olson served as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's guest concertmaster this past October, working with van Zweden in acclaimed performances of Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony. He has also served as guest concertmaster with the Toronto, Omaha and Tucson Symphonies and is a substitute violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra.